Jared Bednar just finished his fifth season as Colorado's head coach. Hired on Aug. 25, 2016, Bednar is the seventh head coach in Avalanche history and the 15th in the history of the franchise. He signed a two-year contract extension through the 2021-22 campaign on July 9, 2019.
The Avs have qualified for the playoffs in each of the last four seasons, which ranks as the third-longest run of postseason appearances in franchise history. Colorado has advanced to the second round in each of the past three years, the first time the club has done so since a four-year run from 1999-2002.
In 2020-21, the Avalanche won the West Division title and finished on top of the NHL standings for the first time since to 2000-01, with the club winning the franchise's third-ever Presidents' Trophy (also 1996-97) and 12th division title (10th since moving to Colorado in 1995-96).
Bednar led the Avalanche to a second-place finish in the Central Division and the Western Conference with 92 points in 70 games during the shortened 2019-20 campaign. The Avs were two points behind St. Louis (94) but played one fewer contest than the Blues when the regular season was paused and eventually concluded. The Avalanche tied Tampa Bay for the third-most points in the NHL behind the Blues and Boston Bruins (100). Colorado's .657 points percentage was its third highest since relocating to Denver, trailing only the 2000-01 team (.720) and the 2013-14 squad (.683).
The Avalanche went on to compile a 9-5-1 record during the 2020 postseason in Edmonton, coming within a Game 7 overtime period of advancing to the Conference Final.
Bednar became just the third Avalanche coach since the franchise relocated to lead the club to three straight playoff berths, joining Bob Hartley (four, 1998-99 to 2001-02) and Marc Crawford (three, 1995-96 to 1997-98).
Bednar, 48, owns a 145-136-35 (.514) record in four seasons behind the bench, which includes a 123-80-31 (.592) mark over the past three years. Only Hartley (193) has more wins in Avalanche history. Bednar's 145 victories rank fourth in franchise annals behind Michel Bergeron (265), Hartley (193) and Crawford (165 including one season with Quebec).
Bednar during the 2019-20 season passed Joe Sacco and Patrick Roy (130) for fourth on the Avs win list on Jan. 20, passed Joel Quenneville (131) for third on Feb. 4 and passed Crawford (135) for second on Feb. 11.
The 2020-21 campaign will mark Bednar's 19th season of coaching professional hockey, 11 of which have been as a head coach. He posted a .603 winning percentage as a minor league head coach (251-158-23-19), winning championships at both the AHL and ECHL levels.
Bednar was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's coach of the year during his second season behind the bench in 2017-18. He led the Avs to a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 43-30-9 record (95 points), a jump of 47 points from the previous year. Colorado's 47-point turnaround equaled the fourth-highest year-to-year improvement in NHL history.
Bednar joined Harry Sinden as the only coaches in NHL history to record at least 20 more wins in their second season as a head coach than in their first (with the first year being a full season). Sinden led the Boston Bruins to 37 victories in 1967-68 after winning 17 games in 1966-67. Leading what was the NHL's youngest team (25.8 average age), Bednar helped guide the 2017-18 Avs to their first postseason berth since 2013-14. Colorado dressed 11 rookies, tied for second in the league, with that group combining for an NHL-high and team-record 419 games.
Prior to joining the Avalanche organization, Bednar guided the Columbus Blue Jackets' AHL affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters, to the 2016 Calder Cup championship. The Monsters finished second in the Central Division with a 43-22-6-5 record (97 points) and then proceeded to go 15-2 during the postseason, sweeping both the Western Conference Final and Calder Cup Final.
Bednar served as the head coach of the Blue Jackets' previous AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons, in 2014-15 and also spent two seasons as the head coach of the AHL's Peoria Rivermen from 2010-12.
Bednar began his coaching career as an assistant with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL in 2002-03. He took over the Stingrays' head coaching job in 2007-08 and in his second season led South Carolina to the 2009 Kelly Cup championship. He posted a .654 winning percentage (89-45-9) in two years as an ECHL head coach. The Yorkton, Saskatchewan, native was an assistant coach in the AHL with Abbotsford in 2009-10 and later served two seasons as an assistant with Springfield from 2012-14.
The defenseman played nine seasons of professional hockey, a career that spanned parts of eight seasons in the ECHL with the Huntington Blizzard and South Carolina Stingrays (1993-2002), parts of three seasons in the AHL with the St. John's Maple Leafs and Rochester Americans (1996-2000), and one season in the IHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins in 1998-99. He was part of two Kelly Cup championship teams as a player, 1997 and 2001 with South Carolina. Prior to turning pro, Bednar spent three seasons in the Western Hockey League from 1990-93, competing with the Saskatoon Blades, Spokane Chiefs, Medicine Hat Tigers and Prince Albert Raiders.
Bednar was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2020.
Jared and his wife, Susan, have a son, Kruz (20) and a daughter, Savega (15). Bednar, who lived in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, on two different occasions for a decade during his youth and also played for the Humboldt Broncos, is personally involved in helping the victims and families of the 2018 Humboldt Broncos bus accident, which includes co-hosting a golf tournament each summer.